Wishes in your will

Wishes in your will

If you are writing a will, you may be wondering how to set out additional wishes that could help provide guidance on matters you consider important.

Such wishes cannot be legally binding unlike the many important directions in your will that must be adhered to by the executors and trustees of your estate.

These wishes can be included in your will, or can be set out in an attached letter or memoranda. They provide direction to the executors and trustees of your estate. For example they can set out how you wish your estate to be administered, or can relate to something entirely separate from your estate such as how you would like your infant children to be brought up.

A list of common wishes is set out below.

Funeral arrangements

Detailing your preferences for your funeral can be a helpful way of letting family know specific things such as music you wish to be played, or how you would like to be buried. You may also like to detail whether you would want a religious ceremony or not, and what should be said at your funeral service.

Organ donation

You may wish to detail whether you would like your organs to be donated, or if you would like them to be donated for a particular purpose (for example, scientific purposes). You may also wish to expressly state that you do not want to be an organ donor.

Care of infant children

While your will may set out who is to be the legal guardian of your children, additional wishes can detail how you would like your children to be brought up. This can include things such as whether you would like your children to have a religious upbringing, what sort of school you would like them to go to, or even the dietary preferences you may have for them.

Directions on non-estate assets

You may have a family trust, self-managed superannuation fund or other legal structure that does not form part of your estate, and therefore may not be referred to in your will. A letter of wishes can set out how you would like non-estate assets to be controlled after your death.

You may also wish to detail how you would like the beneficiaries of non-estate assets to spend their inheritance once they reach a certain age (for example to purchase a home, or travel to broaden the mind).

A letter of wishes, or inclusion of wishes in your will, does not mean that your executors and trustees will necessarily follow your guidance. However, it can provide greater understanding of how you wish your estate to be managed, and can be a useful tool in estate planning.

To get advice from expert estate planning lawyers on how to draft wishes in your will, please call Certus Legal Group on 07 3106 3016 or contact us using the form on this page.

This article does not give legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. It is intended to provide general and summary information on legal topics, current at the time of first publication. You should seek professional legal advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained herein.

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